So, I don't know about the rest of you, but I had my first real fantasy draft (get it? real, fantasy?) yesterday. I'm in four leagues this year (same as last year), and I'm always interested in getting feedback on how my team looks. So, I'll start by posting my team, and feel free to leave some feedback in the comments. I'll be happy to return the favor for anyone that wants to leave their teams in the comments. For anyone that knows the Fantasy Cafe forum, they do a similar thing over there. I was SUPER pumped to get some Vikings players in my draft. So, if you're interested, read on!
My first league of the season was a 10-team, PPR, Keeper league. It was downsized from a 12-team last year to a 10-team this year, because a few people wanted to quit. In any case, everyone had the option of keeping up to 2 players from last year. So, the first two rounds of the draft for me, consisted of my two keepers: Ray Rice and Larry Fitzgerald. The league has about 3-5 people in it that are die hard fantasy football players that know what they're doing, a few other casual players, and then a handful of wives who really don't have a clue (evidence being that TE Greg Olsen and the Steelers D/ST were some keepers, and several kickers were drafted in rounds 8 and 9). It's fine though as this is just a for-fun league. I've made it to the playoffs every year in this league, but haven't won the league championship yet (grr!). Our draft order was determined randomly, and I drew the 8th spot...yuck. So, here is the team I ended up with:
QB: Tony Romo, Carson Palmer
RB: Ray Rice, Ryan Mathews, Shonn Greene, Doug Martin, Donald Brown, CJ Spiller
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, AJ Green, Percy Harvin, Reggie Wayne
TE: Brandon Pettigrew, Kyle Rudolph
K: Blair Walsh
Part of me wishes I had not drafted Donald Brown, and instead grabbed a sleeper WR instead. But, with the injury to Ryan Mathews, I may be down a RB frequently, so I'm playing it safe with 6 RB and only 4 WR. Normally I like to go 5 and 5 since we have a flex spot. 3 of the 4 WR are solid starters, so I'm not as concerned about my WR situation, and there are a few options available on the waiver wire right now (Kenny Britt, Danny Amendola, Greg Little, etc).
So, since this is a PPR league, I deviated from my usual RB-RB strategy and went RB-WR with my first two keeper picks, mainly because I didn't have a second RB to keep worthy of a 2nd round pick outside of maybe Darren Sproles. And with both Ingram and Thomas healthy and looking exceptional in the pre-season, I'm not sure Sproles will do as well this year. So, anyway, after the keeper rounds, the first real drafting round was in the 3rd round. I could have gone RB in the 3rd round (and I could have gotten guys like Ryan Mathews, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson or even Marshawn Lynch), but it being PPR, I gambled and grabbed the best available WR to pair with Larry Fitzgerald. My options here were Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, AJ Green and Victor Cruz. It was a tough choice, but I went with AJ Green as the safe choice. Green had a very good rookie season (averaged 10.2 points per game in standard) and I'm banking on him doing even better this year. Since I picked 8th, the draft snaked around in the 4th and there were only 4 picks before my next one. So, all of those RB that were available to me in the 3rd were still there. I thought long and hard about taking Fred Jackson or maybe Steven Jackson, but ultimately I chose Ryan Mathews as he has the most potential for catches out of the backfield IMO. The health thing is a concern, but he is potentially a #1 RB in PPR, and if he can get healthy in the 2nd half of the year, I'll have a potent RB combo of Rice and Mathews when it matters most. It being a keeper league, I would love to be able to keep those two long term as they're both still young with many years of production ahead of them. F-Jax and S-Jax are near the end of their careers and won't be worth much for a keeper league.
So, I had a long time to wait until my next pick late in the 5th round. I watched guys on my ranking list slip through my fingers, like Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Hakeem Nicks, Trent Richardson, etc. But near the end of the 5th round Percy Harvin was still available, and I jumped at the chance to take a Viking as well as someone who I have projected as a high end #2, low end #1 WR. His value skyrockets even more in PPR, and I'm still scratching my head wondering how he fell that far.
Just 3 picks prior to my selection of Harvin though, Philip Rivers was picked. I was hoping Rivers would have fallen into the 6th, so I kept my fingers crossed that Eli Manning would still be there when I picked again only 4 slots later. He wasn't. I needed to secure a reliable starting QB before they were all gone, and I had a choice between Roethlisberger, Romo, Schaub, Ryan or Cutler in the 6th round. I might have panicked a little, but I went with Romo. I could have gone RB instead to give me some more insurance for Ryan Mathews, as Benjarvus Green-Ellis was available. But, I had a long time to wait until I picked again at the end of the 7th round, so I went QB here. As it turns out, only one QB was drafted before my 7th round pick (Roethlisberger), but I think it was still the right decision. In any case, that left me a little thin at TE and RB depth, and in the 7th round I watched Jermichael Finley, Vernon Davis, Aaron Hernandez and Jason Witten all get drafted ahead of me. I almost jumped in on the TE run like I did on the QB run, but remembered that my next pick was only 4 spots away and Tony Gonzalez and Brandon Pettigrew were both still available. So, I gambled again and grabbed RB Doug Martin in the 7th hoping his upside propels him into more of a starters role in Tampa Bay alongside the declining LaGarrette Blount. I usually like to have chosen a TE before the 8th round, but Brandon Pettigrew is another PPR machine that I was surprised to see drop so far. I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on Pettigrew in the 8th. At this point in the draft all my core starters were drafted and I had some added RB depth on my bench already. From here on out, I was looking for guys with opportunity that I could plug in should one of my starters go down. I picked the rest of my team in this order starting in the 9th round: Shonn Greene, Reggie Wayne, CJ Spiller, Donald Brown, Kyle Rudolph, Carson Palmer, Cowboys D/ST, and Blair Walsh.
So, any thoughts from the peanut gallery? How did I do? Would you have taken BenJarvus in the 6th and gambled on there being another QB in the 7th? Would you have taken a TE earlier than the 8th round? Would you have taken a chance on Ryan Mathews?